Digital Tipping Point: Internet Video Celebrity Caitlin Hill 20
Second, Caitlin has managed to rise to prominence with almost no capital investment. She uses a cheapo consumer grade camera and began processing the video with an ordinary consumer grade PC running Microsoft Windows. (Caitlin now has moved to a Mac notebook computer, and Mac OS X is actually based on a Free Open Source Software operating system called FreeBSD). Caitlin has had almost no training in using this equipment. Like most members of the Free Open Source Software movement, Caitlin is willing to just learn by doing. That willingness is key to the success of a disruptive innovation like Free Open Source Software. Vendors of Free Open Source Software solutions, such as YouTube, depend on their end users to roll up their sleeves just a bit and add value, as opposed to the market leader, which hands its best customers a shiny package ready for consumption.
Third, Caitlin is young. As of the time of this writing, she is only 18. She has been a legal adult for less than one year, just as on-line video is just now reaching a teenager adulthood status. Like YouTube, Metacafe, Veoh, and other on-line video outlets, Caitlin is going to become increasingly sophisticate in her delivery. She will undoubtedly improve her already considerable video editing and directing skills. She started out video blogging in late August, 2006, at which time she was completely unknown. As of the time of this writing in May, 2007, Cailtin has more than 33,000 regular subscribers, and her video posts routinely get more than 100,000 views in a matter of mere weeks. Caitlin is making plans to commercialize her work, for example, by doing commercial video production on issues pertaining to global warming. She will undoubtedly acquire better tools, will generate more sophisticated scripts, will draw a more savvy video production team to her, and at some point, her career will leap from the disruptive channel in which she rose (on-line video) to more traditional broadcast media. And if she doesn't make that leap, than someone else from YouTube will. The point is not Caitlin. Sure, Caitlin is very witty and dynamic and smart and entertaining, but the point is much broader. The value has shifted. Hollywood did nothing for Caitlin thus far. The stars of tomorrow can be seen in on-line video today. As Caitlin and on-line video services mature, they will soon come to compete with Hollywood for its lifeblood: consumer entertainment spending.
That is why Caitlin embodies the digital tipping point.
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